Help Students Celebrate #STEMtember

Stephen DeAngelis

September 4, 2020

You may never have heard of #STEMtember, but it has been around for nearly a decade. The earliest record I could find was in an article written by the staff at JUSTMEANS. The staff wrote, “Starting today we’re using the hashtag #STEMtember to pull together STEM related content, news and opinions on Twitter throughout the month.”[1] The article went on to note, “STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM education is not only critical for preparing our future doctors, researchers, rocket scientists and game designers, it’s becoming more important for every type of job in the workforce. The problem is that most countries in the world aren’t producing enough STEM graduates. … Companies in the private sector need STEM graduates to create the next generation of exciting innovations, and there are incredible career opportunities for students who take STEM degree courses. For millions of students around the world September is back-to-school time, and to coincide with the new academic year we’re launching a month long set of announcements and events focused on promoting awareness of STEM and its importance.”

 

Fortunately, #STEMtember caught on and continues to gain support. This year the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published the following press release:

 

It’s clear to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), that STEM — the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics — helps shape our world and solve our most complex problems. But tackling many of our biggest challenges will take years — and that’s where America’s students come in.

Students: You represent the next generation of STEM experts. You will be leaders in your field and work at the forefront of breakthroughs that change the world.

 

Each STEM field serves as a building block for accomplishing the DOE mission. So this month, we’re celebrating #STEMtember to explore some of the many career possibilities STEM has to offer.

 

Every week in September, we’ll spotlight a different aspect of STEM. First, we’ll explore what makes STEM essential and why you should follow your passion into a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Next, we’ll look at STEM at Home and show you ways to keep moving forward in your chosen field while you’re distance learning. After that, we’ll meet Women in STEM and explore women’s breakthroughs in the energy field. Lastly, we’ll celebrate STEM Today and Tomorrow by introducing you to DOE scientists and engineers and the EERE programs giving students hands-on experience that will help create future STEM leaders.

 

In a world with so many questions in the field of energy and beyond, STEM gives us valuable tools and answers. Follow EERE on Facebook and Twitter and look for the #STEMtember hashtag to explore these exciting posts with us all month long!

… For more content about STEM at DOE, make sure to visit STEM Rising, the hub for all-things-STEM at the agency. On the STEM Rising website, you can read the STEM blog, subscribe to the STEM newsletter, and find STEM resources for your needs.”[2]

 

Another group that has embraced #STEMtember is Boston Scientific. On a Facebook post, the Boston Scientific staff wrote, “#STEMtember is a month-long celebration of how we advance STEM education in our communities. This summer, we partnered with the Bell Museum to distribute over 9,000 science kits to Twin Cities children to help address the achievement gaps that disproportionately affect low income communities and students of color. “[3] A couple of years ago, Boston Scientific tried to excite students about STEM subjects by introducing them to STEM professionals working at the company.

 

 

By clicking on the #STEMtember link, you can see some of the other companies supporting this effort. I’m a big supporter of STEM education. Several years ago, a few colleagues and I founded The Project for STEM Competitiveness — a project-based, problem-solving approach to STEM education helping schools near where we live demonstrate to students that STEM subjects can be fun and applicable in their lives. We believe learning how to solve everyday problems will help students in every aspect of their lives by teaching them to think critically about how they can overcome challenges. Working together in group projects can help students learn soft skills as well as helping them understand larger social problems that need addressing.

 

I encourage students to take advantage of the resources offered as part of the #STEMtember effort and I hope you get excited to follow a STEM career.

 

Footnotes
[1] Staff, “What is STEM and Why is It Important? #STEMtember,” JUSTMEANS, 7 September 2011.
[2] Staff, “Get Inspired This #STEMtember!” U.S. Department of Energy, 1 September 2020.
[3] Staff, Boston Scientific, Facebook, 1 September 2020.